Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, July 6, 2009


Page 1


John E. McDermott Assumes Post as U.S. Central District Magistrate Judge


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Former Howrey LLP partner John E. McDermott has joined the federal bench as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Central District of California.

Sworn in Thursday to an eight-year term, McDermott, 62, will sit in the Central Districtís Los Angeles courthouse and preside over matters in the courtís Western Division, court officials said.

McDermott received his undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1968 and received his law degree from Harvard in 1971.

Prior to taking the bench, he was a partner at Howrey and a member of the firmís Commercial Trial practice group.

His practice emphasized complex litigation, primarily focusing on health care, antitrust and patent matters, and representation of public entities in election matters, employment and pensions.

From 1972 to 1981, McDermott was a public interest lawyer at the Western Center on Law & Poverty and served as its Executive Director from 1977 to 1981.

He has also been a member of the Sierra Club since 1972.

Including the appointment of McDermott, the California Central Districtóthe nationís largest federal district, comprised of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Santa Barbara countiesóhas 24 full-time and one part-time magistrate judge positions.

Court officials also announced Thursday that the United States Judicial Conference has authorized the appointment of one full-time magistrate judge for the Central District of California.

The court is seeking applicants to fill the position previously held by Magistrate Judge Jeffrey W. Johnson, who sat in Los Angeles and for additional vacancies that may occur. The individual selected to succeed Johnson is anticipated to be seated around April or May of 2010, officials said.

Magistrate judgesí duties include conducting preliminary proceedings in criminal cases, the trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases, and discovery in pretrial matters and relevant hearings in civil cases.

This position requires a minimum of five years membership in good standing of the State Bar of the highest court of a state, and at least five years of active practice of law. The position pays an annual salary of $160,080.

The selection process, which is governed by statute and by regulations adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States, includes detailed background reviews and interviews before a Merit Selection Panel consisting of attorneys and non-attorney, public representatives.

After being vetted by the panel, candidates are referred to the District Court, where interviews are conducted by the District Courtís Magistrate Judges Committee and the top candidates are then referred to the full court for review, selection, and appointment.

Applications may be obtained from the courtís Human Resources Department or website. An original and twenty-five† hard copies of the application form must be received by the court by August 4.


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